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Church Planting Europe Field Story Poland

My Life Before Jesus

"In my life I always cherished the idea of freedom, but only when I came back to God I understood how deep his grace is and only then did I finally feel free."

     Our team in Poland met Gosia a couple years ago. Since then God has been working in her life, we recently celebrated her baptism!  She has graciously allowed us to share her testimony, that you might be encouraged how God has and continues to work in her life.    
     My life before I met Jesus was quite stormy, one could say. As a child I was a very happy, cheerful child. I loved to spend time with my family, for I was and am very close to them. I loved to spend time with other children as well but there had always been some melancholy and longing in my life. I remember that when I was in middle school I started thinking about God. I was preparing for the second catholic sacrament called Confirmation. I was sitting with my best friend in the church pews, laughing. We laughed at everything, at the monotonous voice of the priest, at the promise of never drinking wine again as we were given wine to drink with the bread. At the “literal” change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.
     I remember how very afraid I was of God and life. All I remember about the preparation for Confirmation was deep fear. The priest told us many stories of about demons, the end of the world and demon possession. I couldn’t sleep alone or without lights in my room for many years following. 
     Ever since I can remember in my life, there was always something missing. But when I went to high school I met new friends and I saw the life they were leading: loud and flashy, filled with parties and alcohol and drugs and I thought hey, maybe that was it? Maybe that's what I was missing? I started questioning my choices…but obviously that wasn’t the mysterious something that was missing in my life. As I changed schools in the middle of my high school years I felt more alone and sadder then ever and I almost abandoned God.
     When I went to college, my sadness, which the psychologist called a formed of masked depression, got worse. I couldn’t think straight because I was so terrified of death and disease. I was terrified of dying and I almost felt insane with the fear of it. It was something indescribable.
     One night, when I was staying the night at my grandma’s apartment, by accident or what I now call the grace of God I found a video of a Christian speaker named Nick Vujicic. For the first time I heard someone speaking of God in such a way. A man born without arms and legs, saying he fought with depression. He spoke about God in such an extraordinary way… I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I remember how hard my heart was pounding when that night I went to my knees crying and begging God for help. Back then I still didn’t know who God was or how to pray. But that didn’t stop me. On my knees, looking at the sky, I cried and begged God to forgive me, for what was bad in me. I begged for his help and I remember one thing that I begged for was “To help me, because I don’t know how I will last another day.”
     Well. I still don’t know why that particular night God decided to hear my case, but he did. Depression that the doctor told me, would never be cured… didn’t get cured—it got healed. I woke up the next morning for the first time in forever with an insane amount of joy and hope. It filled my heart to the brim. And trust me, everything looked different. The sky was much more beautiful than the day before, the people seemed different… of course it doesn’t mean that since that moment I was never sad. But my sadness never went to the extreme. I wasn’t scared of death. I wasn’t scared of diseases I wasn’t terrified anymore. I had hope.
     That summer I decided to meet God. I started regularly attending Catholic Church, but that seemed only to push me away from Him and fill my heart with loneliness again. In one of my many prayers I asked God to send me a Christian friend, who would kind of lead me, help me and show me the way because I felt like a child in a fog. And God in his endless love… didn’t send me a friend but two very dear friends now. They seemed to be an answered prayer and are still to this day. Later on I found out I was an answered prayer of theirs too. I can say we are God’s blessing to each other. They helped me read the Bible and encouraged me in prayer.
     But of course in that time I learned how much of a sinful person I was and how much I needed help. Up until that point I thought that going to the confessional booth will wipe away my sins. That I could be a good, decent human being. But reading the Bible I understood there are no good people. That there is only one who is good and it is God. I started to understand that not only heaven is real but that hell is real too and that there is no middle ground, there is no purgatory. I finally understood that God in his amazing grace gave us His only Son, while we were still sinners, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have an everlasting life. Before that time I didn’t understand why it happened. I didn’t know what Easter was all about. I never understood that I was personally guilty of breaking God’s holy law and that if he didn’t send his son to die for my sins on the cross the punishment for my sins would be death and an eternity spent away from God in hell.
     The knowledge of the fact, that God in his never-ending goodness and love was and is ready to forgive me for all of my sins, changed me forever. But coming to God wasn’t easy. I had to accept my own sinful nature and sever the ties with sin. I couldn’t any longer walk with sin and with God hand in hand. You could say that for the first time in my life I finally saw clearly. I understood that what the world wants and what God wants are two different things.
     In my life I always cherished the idea of freedom, but only when I came back to God I understood how deep his grace is and only then did I finally feel free. Galatians 5:1 says that it is “for freedom Christ has set you free. So about in the freedom and don’t give yourself under the power of sin anymore.”
     After coming back to God my life changed drastically. I understood that my identity and my happiness comes only from God. Now I have a deep hope in myself that I never had before. Hope that I couldn’t keep to myself I wanted to share it with everyone I met! It was almost like Luke says in chapter 19. “I tell you, He answered, “if they remain silent, the very stones will cry out.” and I can honestly tell I felt that if I won’t share it, the very stones will start screaming about the glory of God, of his forgiveness and salvation.
     My character changed as well. I am slowly becoming much more peaceful and much more of a caring person then I used to be. And definitely I’m increasingly becoming more and more of a happy person. I’m trying to honor people around me more and more, and especially my parents to whom I owe much more then I can express and to my dear friends like Sylwia, who never ceases to amaze and support me. I started putting much more effort into studying and everything else I do. As Colossians 3 says: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” And I try to obey that. I have much more respect for the authorities and for the Church created by God and for God.
     In my walk with God I learned how gracious he was to show me the true church that isn’t defined by walls but by people. In Gospel Church I found people thinking similarly to me, striving every day to live in a way that’s honoring to God. I found people that I hope I can call my chosen-through-God family. I know now that it was one of God’s amazing gifts to me, to find my church.
     In my experience, living with Christ and for Christ is not perfect and not easy. The fact that I gave my life to Christ doesn’t mean that I suddenly stopped hitting walls or seeing obstacles in my way. It doesn’t mean I don’t have to fight with sin anymore because I do. But now I know that in every situation no matter how hard, God is the Lord of it. I know I don’t fight the sin alone because I know that God is fighting for me and is my ever-present help in the time of trouble. I still can’t believe the transaction that God had with me. For my heart of stone he gave me a heart of flesh that can love him and accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus Christ brings. 

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